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[Ed.] Q. Posed to me leads ...
by definition to list the shortcomings.

NEXT diary will be on the blessings of the Dutch.

A question was forwarded to me yesterday with the suggestion to put some thoughts in diary form. As most of you know, I am not the most talented writer, I myself prefer the lab setting doing research on the fundamentals before giving a comment. Reading the tips in a diary today: This Place Needs an Editor! by JaneKnowles. I for one could use a copy editor.

Luckily today's request is about the Netherlands, a tiny country called the Low Lands, so I can keep this diary short and concise.

Dutch Justice & Law Enforcement

Involving the deaths of innocent lives.

  • basic fact, rate to solve crime in the Netherlands is at an astonishing LOW of 15-18%, highly dependent on crime category
  • missing persons - especially adults - are of little concern to Dutch law enforcement, too often the missing person was a murder victim.

Recent cases -

Solving crime is a major undertaking and shows responsibility of leadership in a city, state or country. Freedom for its citizens cannot be sustained when criminality is running rampant. That includes white collar crime, which apparently is non-existent in the Netherlands, because their standing as a tax haven seems more important.

Solving crime is more often by chance, and dependent on political color and motivation in government. The more difficult criminal acts are in the end solved through tips on TV, or as last resort, by crime fighter Paul R. de Vries. De Vries does great analysis of facts around the case, decides to check basic statements and does his homework. The latest fad in the Netherlands is the tip line from major to minor offenses, you can end your personal frustration by snitching on your neighbor. As you may suspect in this tiny country, it's a major HIT.

  • Missing couple in Baarn found buried under Children's Animal Farm. Caretaker managed to gain couple's confidence and runs their home, paying the bills for years, until an interview with TV reporter de Vries unmasked him as likely murder suspect.
  • Philipine woman did not return to the Philipines as her husband made the police believe, but was murdered by him and buried at the house of his brother. Police did no investigation, de Vries needed more than a year of investigation to solve the case.
  • Dutch fiction author Klinkhamer writes book telling story of a murder and burying his wife in the garden, a story not believed by police. Pans out to be true, just before or after period to prosecute the murder case elapsed [18 years].
  • Two men prosecuted and convicted for the rape and murder of a young woman, were released after a seven year prison sentence, through the effort undertaken by de Vries. De Vries found evidence of a flawed investigation and evidence tampering, the men were innocent.
  • a Scott Peterson case could never happen in the Netherlands, Lacy with unborn would today be a missing person.

Luckily for Dutch law enforcement, in absolute numbers, the murder rate is low. The majority of murders are in the relational sphere, where the perpetrator him-herself calls police with the message: "something serious has happened".

As for mafia liquidation in Amsterdam, most are never solved. So watch out for flying bullets when visiting the city, the liquidations usually take place by daylight. The Dutch police force, doing by far a hundredfold more phone taps than the US would allow, confines itself to informing opposing mob elements: "a contract has been set on your liquidation".

Civil and Corporate Law

Largest case of corporate fraud, upto a $bn, involving Dutch "Royal" Ahold concern. Case is still pending, and not much headway has been made in the investigation.

[Edited: Royal Ahold fraud was Global, not just US Foodservice but also operations in Argentine, Spain and Scandinavia – see comments for some details and reference.
Stock plummeted from €20 to €11 – ouch for the stockholders incl. me
Bought again at €3 and sold at €8 though to compensate loss]

Delivery of basic, contaminated glycol for medicine to make cough syrup through VOS Chemie in Bodegraven, who had lab tested the glycol but left the labels unchanged. Goods originated from Sinochem, China's largest state owned chemical trading company, who had certified the poison, diethelene glycol, as harmless pharmaceutical glycerin and sold it indiscriminately.  

Vos Chemie shipped to Pharval laboratories on Haiti. Their products, two inexpensive fever syrups Valodon and Afebrile caused the deaths of more than sixty children. Dutch Justice failed to cooperate on an International basis to prosecute the Director and Buyer at VOS Chemie, a Dutch company with German affiliation. I believe in the end, Vos Chemie was probably fined that the paperwork did not meet export standards.

On 60 Minutes last night - Sunday, July 11, 1999 - a story was presented on the poisoning of children in the country of Haiti. Children's cough medicine which contains glycerin was filled with glycerin that was contaminated with ethylene glycol.

[Tough to find solid references on the web from 1996, as this was hardly covered in the MSM - there you go again! This find was through a chemistry exam listed on the web. - Ed]

VOS Chemie in Bodegraven, did lab testing and forged documents to indicate base was safe for medicine use. Pharval relied on this test, perhaps the company had no testing facility of their own available in Haiti.

International Affairs

Well known Dutch political cowardice before, during and after the Srebrenica mass murder by Serbian troops under leadership of Mladic and Karadzic. The Dutch UN forces were placed in an impossible military position to protect the enclave, surrounded by Serbian territory and troops.
In July 1995 under Serbian attack, the main concern of The Hague politicians was to get the Dutch UN forces to leave without casualties and to retreat from enclave of Srebrenica.

Leaving behind the Bosnian civilians without any protection. During period of Dutch retreat, Mladic started the slaughter of 7 to 8000 boys, young men and able men of middle-age. With Dutch UN supervision, women and men were separated, women were bussed to city of Tuzla to the North. The men were marched off to their execution. Reminds me of the lack of backbone of many Dutch during WWII, and the transport of too many Jews from the Amsterdam community to the extermination camps of Hitler.

The Srebrenica period and aftermath, the Dutch "Purple" coalition VVD, PvdA and D'66, was a show of inaptitude, lack of preparation and once again the failure when politicians try to run military affairs, when an armed conflict is at the level of full fledged war, with civilian lives at stake.

Avoiding a parliamentary investigation into the Srebrenica failure, Dutch premier Wim Kok decided the research should be done by NIOD, an institute renowned for historic research of World War II and the German occupation. Just before reaching the end of his second term as PM, six years later, the NIOD came with a devastating judgement of political and military blunders around the Dutch UN forces at Srebrenica. What does PM Wim Kok do, take it up before parliament in a debate?  No, he resigns just a matter of weeks before elections are to be held in 2002. No parliamentary accountability, so we are left with reading the documents.

Moments of Historic Dutch "Glory" at Srebrenica, July 1995

  1. Fleeing from incoming attack of Serbs, a Dutch troop carrier overtook the masses of Muslims heading in same direction: the safety of the UN compound at Potocari. On the crowded roads, the Dutch killed an unknown number of civilians, crushing them to death.
  2. Dutch commander Karremans, receiving orders from Mladic in a meeting on video, toasting with his adversary.
  3. Dutch military colonne leaving Bosnia, crossing into Yugoslavia. Commander Karremans exchanging gifts with Mladic, a hearty handshake and waves him good-bye.
  4. Dutch reception and party for the troops with Prince Alexander, members of Dutch parliament and the armed forces commission members.
  5. Infamous press conference with Karremans, uttering words: "There are no good and bad guys".
 During the same period of days, the mass murder took place of the unprotected, 7-8000 civilians near the evacuated UN compound of Potocari.

The military commanders did receive their promotions and medals. Where did I see that just recently, in Washington DC?

Pim Fortuyn Murder

In this same period leading up to new parliamentary elections, a rising political figure stands up and challenges the Dutch political establishment. In the months after the 9/11 attacks in Europe, new social conflicts and concerns with the Muslim population took hold of daily reports in newspapers and TV broadcasts. A growing sense, the Dutch had been too lenient on crime and avoided the social concerns to integrate large number of immigrants from Turkey and Marocco into Dutch society. Pim Fortuyn met that challenge as newcomer, to point to people's concerns and problems the "Purple" administration had avoided to tackle. Without offering real solutions himself, Pim Fortuyn was seen to gain a major number of new seats in parliament.

Returning to the murder of Pim Fortuyn on May 6th, 2002. During the campaign it became clear, Fortuyn was a controversial political figure, taking a bashing from the left-wingers, animal-rights extremist groups as well as from groups involved with the integration of immigrants into the Netherlands. There were clear indications Fortuyn got death threats. On a number of occasions anger became very vivid. Once on location in his home-town of Rotterdam for street interviews, Muslim activists prevented him from speaking and Fortuyn made a quick get-away. During a press conference, he got a double smear with filthy fillings of a pie, presumably from left-wing activists.

Dutch law enforcement sees no concern to start an investigation and PvdA Minister Klaas de Vries says Pim Fortuyn does not meet the prerequisite for police protection, only provided the Queen, PM and cabinet, foreign dignitaries or a member of parliament.

The result is well known, Pim Fortuyn was assassinated by six shots to the head and chest outside a radio broadcast studio in Hilversum. The murderer was Volkert van der Graaf, a political extremist in the Dutch movement on Animal Rights. Van der Graaf was apprehended within minutes due to the colleague and chauffeur of Fortuyn, who pursued the killer and called in by mobile phone to local police the whereabouts of the killer. Within hours that same evening, law enforcement began their investigation into the murder. The place of work of Van der Graaf was an office in the city of Nijmegen, so the Mayor was informed under strict embargo, that Van der Graaf had been apprehended. The mayor informed his loco-mayor, a left-wing oriented party member, who had the audacity to inform office colleagues of Van de Graaf, and activists members, before the police could do a search of the premises.

In a by government initiated investigation on the decision not to offer Fortuyn police protection, it was discovered the BVD [Dutch Secret Service] had tapped phones in an ongoing unraveling of the left-wing extremist movement. On one occasion, months before the Fortuyn murder, they listened in on a conversation where a discussion started to liquidate Fortuyn. The information did not warrent a follow-up because it was "off topic" of the investigation.


In preparation for a public debate to change Dutch law on euthanasia, Dutch TV documentary was made about an elderly couple in their preparation to make the step across life's boundary. Dutch GP Dr. Zeilmaker in The Hague was involved to cover any medical concerns may they arise. In the end, the couple decided the wife would take their "medicine" first and the elderly husband was to follow. The end of the tale, when the TV reporter Wibo van der Linden did a follow up, the woman died and the elderly husband was doing well and alive, living with a new lady-friend in Vienna. True story life on Dutch TV.

Crime Statistics

Due to privacy concerns, there are no statistics on cause of death in the Netherlands. Deaths in hospitals and medical facilities do not list the nature and circumstances of deaths. When someone at home passes away, usually a local GP is called to establish the cause of death. A conclusion of "natural cause" probably offers the least red tape and everyone is satisfied. Law enforcement does not need to be involved. Identical are the circumstances of "legal" euthanasia by doctors in the Netherlands, who often fill out forms with the conclusion "natural cause" to avoid embarassment of a routine investigation whether all provisions of euthanasia law were met.

These are some of the concerns that come to mind on the major issues. Underlying are many daily experiences that are mind-bogging in relation to other societies and countries. The minor and petty offences everyone is confronted with on a daily basis. Shoplifting is apparently a scourge that cannot be stopped. The thief, if apprehended, is released within the hour as the shop owner is kept at the police station to fill-out the necessary complaint forms, often upon his return, the shoplifter is back in his shop provoking him. Hold on to your bicycles, don't buy a new one if you are in the city of Amsterdam. The rate of bicycle theft is about three every decade for the individual bicycle owner, the normal life cycle of this modern version velocipede, but these bikes have pede of their own.

Oh yes, don't bother to call in for a burglary in your home outside "office hours" of the local police. The theft of goods is usually covered by insurance, so you can come in at a convenient hour for the paper work, necessary to get the costs recovered from your insurance company. A new rule of operation by Dutch law enforcement trumps all other: "It's not a police priority and we lack the funds and manpower".

A recent paper on research of the Dutch police and investigations compares the efficiency with their German counterparts. For the equivalent work performance, the Germans are 100% more efficient.


Asking questions or pointing to concerns of lapses in the Justice system of the Netherlands, offers by itself a starting point to realize it's not all blue under a clear sky of a liberal place to live and work. Still work to be done - the Dutch cannot be satisfied as yet. ENJOY.

Explanation Dutch "Purple" coalition VVD, PvdA and D'66:
VVD - liberals to the right in Dutch political spectrum
D'66 - liberals centrum-left
PvdA - labor party left-socialists
Wim Kok, PvdA as Prime Minister from 1994-2002

Edited: I meant to be kind to the Dutch!
A. Didn’t mention the issue on coke transport through Schiphol airport.
B. Ambiguity with immigrants, asylum seekers and their imprisonment.
C. Nor the “Bouwfraude”, immense cartel with price-fixing in the Construction and Builders Industry, costing the Dutch taxpayer €1bn during a decade.

But other than these issues, the Netherlands belongs to my TOP 6 favorite countries to live and work!

In 2005 - Be liberal: Support our Allies of Democracy on Human Rights, the Environment, Gay and Minority Rights & EU and UN Third World Development Programs & Our Friends

Originally posted to creve coeur on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 11:27 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Offered me some distraction (4.00)
    From the PropaG and GOPWEBTX investigation.

    I stll love the Low Lands
    but don't tell me all is perfect.

    In 2005 - Be liberal: Support our Allies of Democracy on Human Rights, the Environment, Gay and Minority Rights & EU and UN Third World Development Programs & Our Friends

  •  thanks a lot... (none)
    Interesting stuff, as far as it goes.

    What about the Dutch MP who has to live under guard in an undisclosed location because she managed to annoy the local Muslim population with a video? Not to mention the filmmaker himself, who got murdered in a fairly messy way.

    I'd considered living there, now I regard it as a good thing for me that a couple of romantic involvements that would have taken me out there blew up in my face.

    Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

    by alizard on Sun Mar 20, 2005 at 12:09:36 AM PST

    •  MP Hirsi Ali (none)
      MP Hirsi Ali joined filmmaker Theo van Gogh in the film Submission. According to Mrs. Ali to set free the suppressed Muslim women in the Netherlands.

      Both persons are controversial in the Netherlands. Theo van Gogh for being "anti-semitic" a decade ago; to Hirsi Ali for combining a controversial film with her work as MP. She will be kept within bounds as VVD partyleader Van Aartsen told the parliamentary press recently.

      The storm of protest in the Netherlands comes at a difficult moment to be tougher on immigration anyway.

      Imagine what would have happened if John Kerry co-produced the Passion of Christ in the US. AIPAC would still be blowing off steam today.

      In 2005 - Be liberal: Support our Allies of Democracy on Human Rights, the Environment, Gay and Minority Rights & EU and UN Third World Development Programs & Our Friends

      •  Ayaan (none)
        I've started to think of Miss Hirsi Ali as the Dutch equivalent to Ann Coulter or Michelle Malkin.

        Her proclaimed objectives. are to emancipate Muslem women and stop various injustices within Holland's Muslem community. And those are commendable goals.

        At the same time she seems to prefer to work with people on the extreme right fringe of Dutch politics, like rabid right winger Geert Wilders. These people are pressing for repressive measures against all Muslems, including Muslem women.

        Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a very smart politician. She switched from Labor (PvdA) to the Conservatives (VVD) a couple of years ago. That move catapulted her into the top tier of Parliament.

        You know, she's quite an incredible woman. If only she would try to unite rather than divide. She could have been a great stateswoman.

        •  A Commendable & Courageous Lady (none)
          Very gifted woman, made it from Somalia through Saudi Arabia to the Netherlands. Exemplary for an asylum seeker for whom no border should be kept shut!

          Hirsi Ali is still a young woman, her political inexperience plays a role, she can only sustain het MP career by communicating to the Muslim groups she wants to represent.

          Her close ties to Geert Wilders is a contradiction in terms, I too do not understand. See Geert Wilders' recent visit to the US and the NeoCon groups!
          Geert Wilders Manifesto.

          In 2005 - Be liberal: Support our Allies of Democracy on Human Rights, the Environment, Gay and Minority Rights & EU and UN Third World Development Programs & Our Friends

  •  Art thefts (2.50)
    There was also the laughably easy theft of two (?) Van Gogh paintings from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam a couple of years ago. No one ever caught, to my knowledge.

    Add to this rampant absenteeism, paid sick leave for the most trivial reasons, gridlocked bureaucracy, and more... it's remarkable that the country continues to function at all.

    They do make great bicycles.

    •  really fucking rude (4.00)
      Seriously.  Why don't you just say it:  they're a bunch of Eurotrash fags.

      While you're at it, just add "stoned" too.

      And maybe you can start in on the French.  That'd be constructive.

      One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures. -- George W. Bush

      by Page van der Linden on Sun Mar 20, 2005 at 12:21:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whoa there! (4.00)
        Sorry if I offended... no, "Eurotrash fags" was not in my mind, and I rather like the French, meaning: I find their annoying traits endearing, most of the time.

        Have you lived in Holland? I have. You should hear some of them comment on bureaucrats, the government, the cops, etc. etc.

        And they do make great bikes. Smile.

    •  Schiphol diamond theft $100m (none)
      Recent theft of a valuable shipment, must have been with inside help. The airport has the tightest security checks, but the Dutch must have been looking for terrorists only.

      Unbelievable sloppiness and/or bribes played a role.

      In 2005 - Be liberal: Support our Allies of Democracy on Human Rights, the Environment, Gay and Minority Rights & EU and UN Third World Development Programs & Our Friends

  •  Uninformed and Totally Biased (4.00)
    I don't know what sort of Anti-Dutch prejudice you have, but you should at least be accurate.  I guess you found a site on the internet and decided to drink the Kool-Aid of demonizing the Dutch and the Paars (Purple) coilition.  

    1.  The financial scandal at Ahold involved Ahold's US subsidiary, USA Foodservice.  You can't seriously blame the Dutch for something that happened in the US.

    2.  The crime reporter's name is Peter R. de Vries and he is usually more interested in getting attention for his TV show than solving cases.  

    3.  Pim Fortuyn refused police protection.

    4.  The Dutch Euthanasia system has more safeguards than the haphazard system that occurs in every other country.

    5.  The commanders in charge at Srebrenica made the wrong choices.  Are you going to blame that on the entire country?
    •  Yep. (none)
      I appreciate the effort, but this is the work of someone who has an axe to grind and relies on incidents (some of which are true) to paint a negative overall picture, which is over the top.
    •  HQ Royal Ahold in Zaandam (none)

      The Joint Venture Sales and Operating Income Fraud
      Ahold and the Top Officers

      With respect to the fraudulent consolidation of joint ventures, the Commission's complaints against Ahold, van der Hoeven, Meurs, and Andreae allege as follows:

      Ahold fully consolidated several joint ventures in its financial statements despite owning no more than fifty percent of the voting shares and despite shareholders' agreements that clearly provided for joint control by Ahold and its joint venture partners. To justify full consolidation of certain joint ventures, Ahold gave its independent auditors side letters to the joint venture agreements, signed by Ahold and its joint venture partners, which stated, in effect, that Ahold controlled the joint ventures ("control letters").

      However, at the time or soon after executing the control letters, Ahold and its joint venture partners executed side letters that rescinded the control letters - and thus the basis for full consolidation (the "rescinding letters").

      Meurs signed all but one of the control and rescinding letters on behalf of Ahold. He also knew that Ahold's auditors were relying on the control letters and were unaware of the existence of the rescinding letters.

      Van der Hoeven cosigned one of the rescinding letters and he was at least reckless in not knowing that the auditors were unaware of its existence.

      Andreae participated in the fraud by signing the control and rescinding letters for ICA, Ahold's Scandinavian joint venture, and by knowingly or recklessly concealing the existence of the ICA rescinding letter from the auditors.

      As a result of the fraud, Ahold materially overstated net sales by approximately EUR 4.8 billion ($5.1 billion) for fiscal year 1999, EUR 10.6 billion ($9.8 billion) for fiscal year 2000, and EUR 12.2 billion ($10.9 billion) for fiscal year 2001. Ahold materially overstated operating income by approximately EUR 222 million ($236 million) for fiscal year 1999, EUR 448 million ($413 million) for fiscal year 2000, and EUR 485 million ($434) for fiscal year 2001.

      In its administrative action against Fahlin, the Commission alleges the following:

      Fahlin signed the ICA control and rescinding letters on behalf of ICA Förbundet, one of Ahold's partners in the ICA joint venture. He later left ICA Förbundet and became a member of Ahold's supervisory board and audit committee. In that capacity, he received a report indicating that the auditors were relying on a "control letter" to accept the consolidation of ICA. Fahlin's failure to determine whether this "control letter" was the same letter he had signed and then rescinded was a cause of Ahold's violations of the reporting, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the securities laws.

      In 2005 - Be liberal: Support our Allies of Democracy on Human Rights, the Environment, Gay and Minority Rights & EU and UN Third World Development Programs & Our Friends

      •  So? (none)
        I think it's pretty apparent that Ahold didn't manage its worldwide business very well.  They apparently operated their American and Swedish businesses with some carelessness.  It seems like a classic case of a company not being prepared to become a multinational corporation.  What is your point though?  What does that say about anyone beyond the managers involved?  
    •  Fortuyn Should Have Received Protection (none)

      Haak Commission: Fortuyn Should Have Received Protection

      THE HAGUE, 18/12/02 - The threats Pim Fortuyn received gave sufficient grounds for offering him personal protection from last February. The politician however received no protection as a result of the lax operation of government services and of his own uncooperative attitude, the Van den Haak Commission concluded in its final report presented yesterday.

      The commission, headed by former The Hague appeal court president H. van den Haak, was asked by the cabinet to investigate the lack of protection of Fortuyn, following his assassination on 6 May. The commission concludes that the then Home Affairs Minister De Vries and Justice Minister Benk Korthals should have offered personal protection, although it terms it "an illusion" to think that this could have prevented the murder.

      De Vries took the initiative twice, in March and in April, to have a threat analysis carried out on Fortuyn to determine whether security measures were necessary. But although the minister took these steps, he failed to check the results of these analyses, according to the commission.

      De Vries requested an analysis from the Major Evaluation Triune (GED) and the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC), bodies on which top-level civil servants from various ministries and intelligence services sit. The TEC passed on the request to the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD), at the time called BVD. De Vries later unquestioningly accepted that no useable data had been produced by the through investigations. In reality, these were never carried out, according to the commission.

      On 15 April, a meeting took place at the request of De Vries between Rotterdam Police Commissioner De Jong and Fortuyn's spokesman De Booij. According to the commission, De Jong was not aware that he was representing De Vries at the meeting, which had the aim of seeing whether protection was necessary. Fortuyn, who only shuffled into the meeting gradually, wanted the government to protect him, but did not say so, and his wishes remained unknown to De Jong. De Jong did not make an evaluation of the meeting with De Vries, who only received the report of it on 7 May, one day after Fortuyn was shot dead.

      The commission concludes that the AIVD did too little, and also that the various police corps involved did not work optimally. Individually, they may have done good work, but they forgot to pass the information on to each other and to other bodies.

      In 2005 - Be liberal: Support our Allies of Democracy on Human Rights, the Environment, Gay and Minority Rights & EU and UN Third World Development Programs & Our Friends

      •  The Person Responsible (none)
        The person who is responsible for the death of Pim Fortuyn is the killer, Volkert van der G., not the Dutch police or the AIVD.  

        What I really want to know is what you have against the Dutch people?  What would prompt someone to write shit like this?  Did a Dutch boyfriend/girlfriend break up with you and now you want to exact revenge by writing absolute tripe and slandering an entire country.  Get over it, dude.

        •  Hey now....Whoa - Easy there. (2.50)
          Deep breath in....hold out.

          Now then - Folks in Holland pee in the streets of their own city....right out in the open.  I won't even get into the famed 'Red Light' district and the disgusting stuff that goes on there.  Who the hell was the person who thought up a Banna Bar?  Sick.

          The solution to all the problems of Europe can be solved easily and your American friends are willing to help, for free.  We'll pack up Bush, Chaney, Rumsfield, DeLay and Rove (along with the entire 'Christian Right') and ship them on over to Holland.  

          There.  Problems solved.  Your welcome!

          Doing my part to rid the world of all beer - one Bud Light at a time.

          by TBob2000 on Sun Mar 20, 2005 at 07:48:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Ok. (4.00)
    First of all, I appreciate your effort to try to back up your words.

    As to your specific comments:

    Peter R. de Vries did indeed find some cases where the police investigation had fallen short, which has been an embarassment to them a few times. However, your line "Scott Peterson would have never been tried" is of course pure speculation, and ridiculous.

    Mafia liquidations in Amsterdam have been found hard to solve, but your "bullets flying" line is over the top. It has happened a few times that such a liquidation happened in plain daylight (by driveby motorcycle for example), but the public ones are at the rate of once or twice a year.

    The Fortuyn murder. You fail to mention that he was offered protection at one point, but actually refused it. Also, using the pie-throwing incident (a good tradition, remember Bill Gates in Brussels?) as an example of how he was in a threatened position, isn't convincing. You also have to realize that, until then, the murder of a politician had simply been unthinkable. Noone except the very top had had any kind of protection until then.

    Srebrenica: not a proud moment, to be sure. The soldiers were there under a vague mandate, and in an impossible position. As for accountability: Wim Kok resigned because of Srebrenica. A cop out? I don't know, it's also the ultimate in taking political responsibility. Later, he went to Srebrenica and apologized personally to survivors. Anyway, the whole thing was definitely messed up, and a sad lesson was learned on how to do a peacekeeping mission.

    Euthanasia: I am proud that the Netherlands has this option, it is a sign of civilization. Each case is checked. It is quite possible that a bad one had slipped through, although the reporter you mention worked for a TV organization more oriented to the right, and possibly had an axe to grind. You provide no link or date, so it's hard to check.

    Other crime: you use a few (possibly true, I can't verify) stories to paint a picture that is overly dramatic, and make it seem like noone cares about burglary, which isn't true (again, no links). The one thing I can confirm is bicycle theft: this has always been a plague in major cities.

    I remember the comparison with the German police. What they do better is having more people working fulltime on paperwork, relieving the cops on the street from that duty more. On the other hand, it turns out that the Germans have different classifications for crime in their system, making the comparison not entirely valid.

    Overall, I think you rely too much on incidental evidence. I recall some stories that are true, but I can't verify much, since there are no links. And the Scott Peterson jab was just ridiculous. A problem here is, that there aren't many people on this site who can verify most of these things (whereas, if we were to have a discussion on US crime, a lot of people who would know could chime in).

    Of course, it is true that things are definitely not perfect, and I always tell people that who see the Netherlands as some sort of enlightened paradise.

    •  Good post (none)
      Most Americans do have stereotyped views of Holland, either as "some sort of enlightened paradise" or as a hell-hole of dope-smoking hedonistic granny-killers.

      I still, however, can't think of anything nice to say about Dutch bureaucracy.  ;^ )

      Thanks for the civilized, balanced commentary.

  •  Detection Rates etc (4.00)
    The detection rates you quote for solving crime are not significantly out of line with other countries. The main differences between national detection rates are usually down to:-
    a) Definition of crime, the more things that are illegal the more crimes there are.
    b) Reporting of crime, much crime goes unreported (so detection is even lower) howvere reporting rates vary between countries and even regions by large factor when compared to survey data. Local Insurance practice can make a large difference on rates of reported property crime for instance.
    c) Social Pressure, Many victims of crimes fail to report them due to the taboo nature of the crime experienced in their society. Victims of sexual crimes and domestic violence often fall into this category.
    d) Justice systems, some jurisdictions allow criminals to ask for other previously undetected crimes to be "taken in to account" at trial thus rendering them detected. Often there is a maximum sentence they face for the crimes they are charged with so there is no risk of extra punishment attached. In Britain some police forces made much more use of it than others resulting in detection rates different by a factor of four.

    The above make international comparisons very difficult and they are further complicated by factors such as:-
    i) new crimes such as mobile phone or iPod theft ( before that theft of car stereos ) where the existence of an attactive new consumer good leads to a crime wave until market penetration destroys the utility of the crime ( ie everones already got one so there is not much of a second hand market)
    ii) populalation density and composition. For example crime is lower globally in rural areas vs urban are we believe that this is all down to better policing rather than social factors?
    iii)politically influned crimes. The example of Northern Ireland springs to mind very low property cime combined with until recently multiple overlapping politically influenced major criminality.

    All the above and much more make simple comparison of crime statistics extremely hard.

  •  This diary is stupid, (1.66)
    self-indulgent, ill-informed, and lacks any constructive purpose or political value.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Sun Mar 20, 2005 at 01:12:22 PM PST

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